Putting emphasis on improving the lifestyle of villagers, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said the government is working to make the country’s rural economy stronger.
"We want to make the rural economy stronger so that people could earn enough living in their own villages and make the rural economy more vibrant. We’re taking our steps keeping that in our mind," she said.
Sheikh Hasina made the statement while addressing a function, marking the 48th National Cooperative Day and awarding the recipient of the National Cooperative Award at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) here.
"People in rural areas will get the facilities what we’re providing in urban areas as we want to improve the sanitation and communications system in villages," she said.
The Prime Minister mentioned that the government has already ensured internet facility across the country and now rural people can avail themselves of the benefits of that.
Turning to cooperative movement, she said the government wants more crops to be produced on the existing arable lands and cooperatives movement is very much appropriate to do this. "The people of the country will never extend their hands to anyone for food," she said.
The Prime Minister also said the government will be able to develop the country through cooperatives by building information technology based management system.
"We’ll be able to develop our country through cooperatives by building modern information knowledge-based management system using the information technology (IT)," she said.
The theme of this year's Cooperatives Day is 'Development through Cooperatives: The philosophy of Bangabandhu'.
The Department of Cooperatives under the Ministry of LGRD and Cooperatives organised the event.
Putting emphasis on making the existing cooperatives law the time-befitting one, the Prime Minister said the government will give more importance to the cooperatives following the directives of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Regarding the Cooperatives Bank, she said in the past this bank was in deplorable condition. "Steps should be taken to make this bank a profitable entity by making this bank-related law a time-befitting one," she said.
Describing various steps and programmes to develop the cooperatives system in the country, the Prime Minister said there are currently around 174,000 cooperatives in the country where the number of the members is 109,00,000.
Hasina said cooperatives are the tool for fulfilling the dream of the Father of the Nation. Bangabandhu wanted to expand cooperative-based production and distribution management in all sectors.
LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Md Tazul Islam, Parliamentary Standing Committee on LGRD and Cooperatives Ministry chairman Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, LGRD and Cooperatives State Minister Swapan Bhattacharjee, Rural Development and Cooperatives Division secretary Md Kamal Uddin Talukder, President of Bangladesh Cooperative Union Sheikh Nadir Hossain Lipu and director general of department of cooperatives Md Abdul Mazid also spoke at the event.
Earlier, Prime Minister Hasina handed over the National Cooperative Award to cooperative societies and individuals in different categories for their contributions to the sector.
Sheikh Hasina also visited different stalls set up on the BICC premises by various cooperatives societies on the occasion.
After the programme, she enjoyed a colourful cultural programme.